New Friends

I just got back from the psychic with Mish. We bought some extracts, then asked if she did readings.

She said she wasn’t feeling anything today, but then all of the sudden she let out this stream of consciousness.

She told me I was going away to something like Peace Corps this year, that it’s in my destiny. And I’ll meet two people who will be very influential in my life, and the three of us will all be very different in our approaches to life, but will help one another grow. And there will be lots of inclines and physical hard labor during the year, and not much greenery.  She said I wouldn’t like the authority, but I would love my team.

She told me I wouldn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise until a year after I got back. She said it will be something in research, in a big campus building with lots of windows.  Not math research, or blood research. Something different.

She told me I was an Indigo Child. She said people had told me this before. And I was surrounded by Buddhas. They were guiding me. She said I vibrated at a higher frequency than my peers and that’s why I had never fit in with them. And I didn’t understand why I couldn’t fit in with them. And hadn’t found the way to use my gifts yet.

She said that my parents would always say what a good baby I was, and that I never needed anyone to entertain me, I entertained myself.

She went back to the trio I am supposed to meet this year, and kept repeating the importance of the three.

She told me I would spend my life helping people. She told me I was more intelligent than others. I asked her if I was going to be an elitist, and she said I would be the opposite of an elitist.

She told me the journey I’m about to go on, far away, she sees dust and desert. She says it will change me. But she says that I also have never thought about not doing it. She says it’s what I will do, and it’s part of who I am.

She said so much about me, I felt very embarrassed that she did not say much about Mish. But when we directed it back to Mish, she would just say, “You’re a gypsy. You’ll be fine. You live in the present and you’re always okay with it.”

She told me that I was a planner. And that I didn’t need to live more in the present, the future was my strength. She told me that I should continue to plan, and follow through on the things I knew I had to do.

Then we all switched gears and ended up talking about food and drink at the local co-op.

Good morning.

There was no love life in the future for me that she mentioned. And the importance of the three implies that I won’t be able to devote all my time to just one person.

So, there go you, family. No need to worry about disaster dating while on my travels this year.

That’s my favorite part of the fortune.

xx

Spent the evening in Lawrence with Brian, and made two really good girlfriends over the course of the night. Alice and Rebecca.

As we were getting to know each other, I realized that they were exactly the kind of people I would want to hang out with.

We became fast friends that bonded for life over a few short hours, but will now probably never see each other again.

We talked about politics, philosophy, feminism, theory, college, depression, humor, planners, travel and drank beer and played pool.

It was basically my favorite.

They were both wicked funny, but also so in tune with everyone else’s comfort levels. They were constantly making me feel like a million bucks, and I hope I was returning the favor.

I don’t know what it is about this year, but I have finally found out how to connect with women. And it’s so rewarding. For all parties involved.

I think we women are learning to be supportive of each other instead of competitive as we get older and learn more about society and our role in it.

And honestly, girls are just the best at making each other feel great when competition is taken away.

Why not have more relationships like that.

The supernatural importance of girlfriends.

That I never fully realized existed until the past few years.

Last shift with Molly before she moves to Poland to au pair for a family in Warsaw. I’m going to miss her, she was one of my favorite new friends this summer. We went through a lot together. It all.

As we were locking up the store Brandon stopped by before he left town. Really sad to see everyone go, but also, it’s time.

Heading out to have a going away beer with Brandon now.

Brandon’s dog almost ate me alive and I noticed the stars and the grass for the first time.

I just cracked open a fortune-less fortune cookie, and let out an audible gasp.

What I found at the bottom of my life that I’ve forgotten, disregarded and looked at in disgust because of anxiety for the future.

Languages.

I have always been in love with language.

This year I realized that I just love talking to people.

And the more languages you know, the more stories you are able to hear and share in life.

I found a bunch of classical books I have in all different languages that I meant to translate long ago, and thus learn the languages.

Going along with my new mantra, now or never, I got the books out to begin reading.

This morning I spent reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in French, with the English translation right alongside it.

This is what I found at the root of all my ambitions.

Now I’m going to continue throwing everything else out that only vaguely interests me, so that I can completely focus on the future.

By being present.

Had an impromptu lunch with Mad and Brand today.

Sat outside in the sun and had easy conversation and lots of unexpected laughter.

Brand gave us each a silver penny from 1943. He’s moving to Puget Sound, Washington on Tuesday. He’s going to collect and sell mushrooms, and whale watch full time.

Mad just got back from Bogota. And she shared some stories. On a layover home, her flight got delayed a whole day, and she met the love of her life at the airport in D.C. They’re running away together.

A coworker from one of my jobs, and a coworker from my other job were talking to me about one another the other day. It was really funny, because she said that she always flirts with him. And he says he loves her. And the funniest part about it is they are both gay, and thought they were going to have to break it to the other one that the flirting was all in jest. But now that’s sorted, and they are on their way to being good friends. Lovely.

Bumped into an old friend at the library the other day. I’m pretty sure the only place we ever see each other is the library. But that day we took our library party to a coffee shop, and actually hung out for perhaps the first time. She is awesome, and I wish I had been hanging out with her all year. She told me all about this under the radar fortune teller in town, which we are planning on checking out.

Deb is enjoying her classes, and has to learn Spanish for her job. So we are going to learn it together this year. Our phone conversations from here on out will be en Español.

Joe is moving to China for school this week, and I’m so excited for him. Wish I was going with him, honestly. He’ll be there a whole year.

It rained so much today, and I got caught in the middle of a 70 mph wind thunderstorm at Target tonight. Came home absolutely freezing in my tank top and shorts.

I feel like I’m starting to distance myself from my jobs here. The people are still great, but I am in need of something new. I have been doing the barista thing all year, and up until now I thought I could serve coffee for the rest of my life.

But I can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to be a barista again for awhile. I want to explore my potential. I’m finally feeling brave enough to dive into that murky pool.

And it’s all coming at pretty good timing.

Wrapping up things here, and making goals for the next year, as well as the next five years.

Lots of traveling involved. I think I’m finally ready to leave the US again after this year.

Catching up with Ben tomorrow.

Then skyping with Megan G on Tuesday night- she’s my childhood friend who I haven’t seen in at least 10 years. I hope I recognize her. I called her on a whim when I was driving to ABQ this summer, and ever since we’ve been trying to get in touch again, because we realized we turned out to be very similar people, for as different as we were growing up. She went to the Wendy Davis rally in Texas last summer!

And then Loic on Wednesday. He’s heading back to school this year for his phd. Should be starting soon.

I’m coming out of my shell again. I think I’m done hiding in books for awhile. I want to see what’s actually going on in the world.

Tabula Rasa. I am currently tearing my room and my life apart and attempting to find what’s at the bottom of it.

And if I don’t like what’s at the bottom when I get there, I’ll just start over completely.

Fresh starts are my specialty. Overly dramatic? Who? ME?

One of my favorite regulars at work moved to Texas a month ago for a job.

I knew him before he started coming to the cafe, because we ran past each other on the track at the rec all winter. He’s my age, and was at the cafe everyday studying for his masters in comparative politics. He was the one teaching me Arabic for a few weeks this spring before I dipped out. We studied abroad at the same time, except I was in England and he was in Morocco.

I told him goodbye before I went to Chicago, and made a huge deal out of it. I gave him a hug. He brushed it aside, and made jokes. Then he came over fifteen minutes later, and apologized.

“I’m sorry for acting callus. I really am going to miss you.”

I said, M, I know you will. You don’t need to apologize.

And then I get a text later that day expressing much of the same. I say we should keep in touch, and here’s my email.

Later that week I receive this heartfelt and lovely novel of an email. And I smile, and say to myself I’ll respond to it later. I want to respond in the right way.

And then, when I get back from Chicago, guess who’s still in town? He’s come back to visit everyone. I say I had been preparing a long farewell email to send back to him, but now I guess I don’t have to! I get him a coffee on the house. We say goodbye for real this time.

Then yesterday, I’m talking to his group of friends: two Russians and a Palestinian, all on Fulbright scholarships.

“M keeps coming back!”

They agree.

And then, guess who walks through the door fifteen minutes later?

I’m talking to another customer at this time, but I crack up laughing at his third return from the dead.

“Hey, M.”

He smiles, and wanders off.

Later he comes up for his usual third cup of coffee “only half full,” and conversation.

We talk about books. And how he’s out of school for good now. And we are just the most different people. He is so religious. The kind of religious I would be if I still believed. It’s his life.

But he’s so inspiring. Because even though he has his strong beliefs, he is still really open to others’. Take for example his undergraduate degree in the Middle East and Islam. When I asked him why he studied it, he didn’t say “to convert.” He said, “to understand.”

And so he talked about his religious books he’s reading. And he asked me what I’m reading. And I said I like to read about women’s rights/human rights. I’m always so embarrassed when I say this, and quickly cover up the topic of women’s rights with the kosher “human rights”. But he said, “That’s really cool. Women’s rights.” And focused on that instead of letting me sidetrack the conversation.

And today he texted me asking for some good feminist books. And I said.

M.

I can learn a lot from you.

Emma and I took turns being jaded baristas this morning. We really had a lovely day but we were cracking each other up with the fake attitude we called out the drinks with.

Gary brought us a whole tray of carrot cake cupcakes. And I’m working with Richard who’s in another social work program in town for participation between our two jobs. And he’s hooking me up with places to go and hang out in California.

And there were so many other great interactions today, and I was genuinely surprised by my interest in most of the conversations I had today. I think for the past few months I’ve been shutting things off before they’ve even began.

Today I remembered that it’s all about your attitude and the way you approach things. Neither expecting, nor being defeatist. Just being present. And life pulls you in.

I’ve recently realized that I am very bored of myself.

I think it started this spring. I was meeting so many people and doing so many new things- but it all felt a bit scripted.

And looking back, I realize it was scripted. I had done all those things before, met all those people before, felt all those feelings before.

Even though everything was new, I was still perpetuating my comfort zone. I was meeting the same types of people I always do, having the same types of conversations I have hashed and rehashed, and then the same problems appeared out of nowhere on cue.

So I am in the process of purging right now.

I’m letting go of everything that I’ve already done and thought about.

I really want to think about new things. I really want to learn.

And I want to be expanded, not repeated.

I realized I’m not even sure of the difference between what I truly care about, and what I’m just good at producing for an audience.

Starting a new life.

So I’ve decided, as long as I make decaf americanos, I can drink as many as I desire at work.

Tuesday afternoons begin with the German club. A small group of professors, German natives, German wannabes, students and people with an interest in the language. There are about five that come in every week, and always order the same thing.

The first guy that comes in is German. He is quiet, with a twinkle in his eye and a secret smile he never quite lets break across his face.

The second woman who comes in has now become one of my favorites. I’ve served her for six months, but never asked her name or learned anything about her other than the fact that she lived in Germany for a few years with her husband.

Last week she asked for my name. And then today she just totally opened up to me without prompting. It was absolutely fascinating.

She told me about growing up in the big apple, Manhattan New York. How she went to Harvard, and met her current husband there.

“What did you study at Harvard?”

“Italian. I only did it because someone told me to do it. You can see where my self confidence was at.”

“But you went to Harvard! And you get your phd! And you’re fluent in three languages!”

I had always thought she didn’t like us so much. But today I learned she was just one of us, those of us who come across as aloof when really all we want to interact. It just takes us awhile to warm up to it.

The next guy in line says he got his Masters in German. He’s a regular at the cafe. I had no idea he had even gone to school. She invited him in, and he followed her into the German mecca in the back room.

Then a third German woman walked in. She always gets black coffee. A birdlike lady with tiny hands and facial features. She is about half my size and speaks with a heavy, accent barely audible over the noise of the cafe.

I brought them all their drinks later and they replied “Danke.” And I said “Bitte” really quietly and self consciously and ran away as I realized how much I want to learn languages.

Zach came in to work with me in the afternoon. We began with noontime shots, “L’chaim,” and Hebrew lessons. Zach just got back from Israel a few weeks ago and B, one of our favorite regulars who is from Tel Aviv, brought us chocolate croissants and some sass.

I made hummus and cucumber sandwiches.

And then we had a Jewish party.

And then I had three people come in and ask about the humsa around my neck.

“You Jewish?”

Then a kid I went to highschool with, my best friend’s brother’s best friend, showed up at the counter. I said hey, and it’s to great to see how a change in tone can change the mood. Saying hey in a “I know you way” opens up the floor for them to begin speaking to you.

“I didn’t think you’d have remembered me,” he said. “I would have come over sooner if I had known you’d remember me!”

“We haven’t seen each other in at least five years, I didn’t think you’d recognize me. I cut my hair and all.”

“Oh, I recognized you.”

I don’t know how people still recognize me. Especially people I never really talked to when we did “know” each other.

But he was super cool, and we talked about his studies in Minnesota- Classical civilizations.

“That’s what I almost did! Greek and Roman!”

“I’m actually looking to focus on ancient Israel as well as the traditional classics.”

I fully agreed. There’s no reason why “classics” shouldn’t include more than Greek and Roman civilizations. I wished I had learned more about other classical civilizations as well.

I still can.

: )

Then I saw an old teammate from my highschool tennis team. She’s graduating in December and going to travel the world. She has no idea where but she’s just going to go.

Then one of my good friends from highschool’s little sister came in the cafe talking to my old friend. She gave me her phone and I talked to Heather for the first time in five years, after she ran away to Idaho and got three dogs and two babies.

Talked with Ben’s first girlfriend, and she’s in graduate school now for creative writing. She teaches classes and wears big, chunky academic glasses and clothing. She went to Africa this summer and got malaria. And she is writing books.

Then Grandma texted me to drink Yerba Mate and embrace our neurosis. And I thought, yes. That’s probably a great idea. Thank you, Grandma. : )

Then, our neighbor for a year growing up came in. And I recognized him, even though it’s been at least fifteen years. And he recognized me and I we caught up on it all.

I also finally asked the guy who always gets a hot tea what his name is. Even though I know what his name is. Earlier this year I created an “Okaycupid” account, following the advice of a sketchy friend. Okaycupid is an online dating website that shows you people in your area. I made up a fake name and all, and just used the website to creep on people. And this guy was on the website, and he stuck in my mind. So when he showed up at the cafe later that year, and became a regular, I found it hard to interact with him as I knew EVERYTHING about him because I had read his profile. But I had to act like I knew nothing about him, especially had to make sure I didn’t say his name.

So now that is all cleared. It only took me six months.

“Yeah. Glad to finally know your name as I’ve been coming her for six months…” he said.

Later I was making salsa at the sandwich bar, and this guy walks in with a posse of other dudes, and quickly leans on the counter, head resting on his arms.

He stares at me, “How’s it going?”

“Good…”

“What you doing?”

He’s still just languidly hanging out over our counter, talking to me like we’re roommates or best friends, or pen pals or something other than complete strangers.

“I’m making salsa.”

The best conversation ender ever.

He stood there for a few more minutes looking at me, and I occupied myself with the salsa. And then he and the rest of the guys left.

Oddest thing ever.

I hope I wasn’t supposed to know who he was.

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